African civil society groups (CSGs) have expressed disappointment with the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) first replenishment period, stressing that there is a need for improvements in the second replenishment.
The CSGs, convened by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Care International, and German Watch in Niamey, Niger on the sidelines of the ninth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD-9), have criticized GCF for underperforming in climate funding mobilization, with low trickle-down of funding to frontline communities.
The CSOs noted the growing contribution of GCF to global inequality, with large amounts of GCF funding flowing through just a few multilateral entities to fund projects that are not even elaborated at country level.
This was found out during the GCF funded projects monitoring undertaken by CSOs in Africa, lack of transparency and accountability and bureaucratic processes were bolded out as some of the key bottlenecks to the performance of GCF-funded projects in Africa.
Dr. Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), reminded the delegates of the road the Civil Society Organizations walked and the pressure they exerted for the GCF to be established.
However, the processes of accessing funds remain a nightmare and less inspiring for countries and as such a new approach for African CSOs must be forged.
“CSOs were vocal in influencing the establishment of the Green Climate Fund. The climate fund was supposed to be much more accessible, providing resources at speed to countries and communities at the frontline of the climate crisis, but bureaucracy has made this very challenging. In fact, GCF is more bureaucratic than the World Bank, and it is much easier to access funding from the World Bank than the GCF,” said Mwenda.
The CSOs maintained their position that the fund should promote stronger local partnerships to ensure that GCF-funded projects do not undermine, but complement existing initiatives, while also making sure that projects and programs strengthen national and local governance and provide capacity-building support to ensure sustainability.
The CSOs tasked GCF to facilitate access to climate funds to climate-vulnerable countries and communities with at least 50% of the total funding supporting adaptation projects. To do this, the GCF is requested to provide large parts (90 percent) of its funding in form of grants and with a greater focus on adaptation, assigning fair weights to social and environmental returns on investments.
In 2019, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), in their study observed that less than 10% of funding committed under international climate funds to help developing countries take action on climate change is directed at the local level.
In Malawi, the GCF has so far funded three projects and four readiness activities, one being protecting lives and livelihoods in the country from climate-related disasters by providing early warning weather and climate information systems and improving the resilience of vulnerable communities.
GCF was introduced to help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The fund was established in 2010 as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and began operating in 2015.